Recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan halted the Taiwan-Palau Sterile Corridor Travel Bubble and put 81 patients on medical referral waiting list on hold pending the next approved flight between Taiwan and Palau.
Senator Dr. Stevenson Kuartei, Chairman of Senate Committee on Health and Social Welfare, last week, asked President Surangel Whipps Jr. to “do everything within his power” to help these patients seek urgent medical care abroad.
One of the stated priorities of Whipps’ travel bubble with Taiwan, is the ability to send Palau’s patients abroad for medical care.
The recent uptick in COVID-19 transmissions Taiwan had to put in place restrictions on incoming flights in order to control the virus spread. In addition, number of tourists coming through the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble have been decreasing ever since the initial opening on April 1st causing China Airlines to cancel some of its scheduled flights for May.
China Airline still have next flight schedule for June 15th but this too is reliant on the ongoing COVID situation in Taiwan.
Senator Kuartei in his letter stated “some of the patients are currently facing life-threatening conditions as they desperately wait for the opportunity to seek medical care abroad.”
According to report from Medical Referral Committee, there are 12 patients already in Taiwan, 81 on-island patients awaiting their departure and 13 whose cases are deemed “urgent”.
President Whipps said last week that it will mean chartering a plane and they will look into it, meanwhile they were waiting to hear from Taiwan about available space.
Due restricted measures taken in Taiwan at this time, number of patients they can accept is limited. Patients in Taiwan, their escorts as well as 3 other individuals that were in Taiwan for quarantine are also waiting for return flight to Palau.

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